Fears that lack of cash will make looking after Norfolk’s most vulnerable ‘untenable’
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Delivering social care to the most vulnerable people in Norfolk is in danger of becoming 'untenable' because of a climate of continued cuts, worried county councillors have warned the government.
Norfolk County Council is due to make a further £56m of cuts and savings in adult social services and has already come under fire from disability organisation Equal Lives for the cuts which have already been made.
And councillors have written to local government secretary Sajid Javid to set out 'serious concerns regarding the financial sustainability for delivery of adult social care in Norfolk.'
In the letter, copied in to the county's MPs, Bill Borrett, Conservative chairman of the council's adult social care committee, calls for the government that 'full consideration is taken of the severity of pressure being faced within adult social care and the negative impact this is creating for achieving financial stability in future years and delivering positive outcomes for local people.'
He says the council, which will spend £355m on social care in 2016/17 had 'embraced' financial challenges set by the government and made £77m of savings from adult social care and was planning to make £56m more by 2019.
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But he warned that care providers were increasingly challenging the council over how much the authority could pay them and, in some cases, were switching away from publicly funded care to private care.
The council is looking to set a 3.8pc council tax precept next year, of which 2pc is specifically to pay for adult social care, but Mr Borrett said even if that was increased every year of this Parliament it would raise £27m - far short of the increasing costs, which he said the council had estimated would bring extra cost pressures of £90m within five years.
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He warned: 'Given the scale of efficiency savings and service redesign already delivered, this presents a gap that has become untenable and presents serious challenge for the continued delivery of statutory services in future years in line with need.'
And he said the Sustainability and Transformation Plan being worked on for Norfolk and Waveney, a new five year health plan, would not come quickly enough to deal with the immediate problem. And he warned financial pressures threatened the ability of all the organisations involved in that being able to work together effectively.
Mr Borrett's letter came as the Local Government Association warned says the only way to deal with the significant pressures facing both adult social care and the NHS is to invest more in services that help to keep people out of hospital and to stay in their communities.
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: 'This government is committed to ensuring older people throughout the country get affordable and dignified care.
'That is why we are significantly increasing the amount of money local authorities have access to for social care, by up to £3.5 bn by 2020.'